Saturday, February 21, 2009

Stress Makes Me An A-Hole, But Some Good Can Come From It

I don't know why I do this to myself and my family, but by getting in over my head, I begin to stress out and become a big jerk to everyone around me. Unfortunately, my kids get to see this a lot, though it's usually momentary and I apologize and hope that they understand and perhaps even find it a bit comical. It usually happens in the afternoon/evening when cleanup and supper planning begin, all in preparation for mom's arrival home to a clean home and a good home cooked meal. The problem lies in the fact that time is of the essence, and there is so little of it. Usually I get a bit stressed out, especially if we've just gotten home from skiing, which is usually around 5-5:30, and we have to have a meal ready by 6:30 and the house cleaned. Difficult, but not impossible, and in some ways, the only way I can get the job done is by stressing out.

If in the middle of my rigmarole, the kids need my assistance, and then they inevitably incur the wrath of dad, and though I can be a jerk about it, some good things do come out of it. Namely, that the kids have to deal with things on their own, and usually do a good job of it. Case in point, we had just gotten home and I was furiously chopping veggies and getting supper together and washing dishes. The kids were outside making a snowman, it was the first time all season that the snow was just right for snowballs and snowmen, so after a long day of skiing, they were inspired and went to work.

At some point, their snowball got to be too big, and they couldn't lift it on top of the body, so of course they came knocking and asked me to come out and lift it. I was standing there in my long underwear thinking I wasn't about to get dressed up while leaving things cooking on the stove, so I said no, I couldn't. Granted, I could have been more congenial with my response, but stressed out dad is not the picture of tactfulness, and left it at that.

Well, you know what happened? They did it themselves, with teamwork. I'm not justifying being a jerk, but there are times when you leave kids to their own devices, they adapt and overcome, and grow from the process. A explained it me later how they did it, and it was simply brilliant. Best of all, I had nothing to do with and they did it all on their own. We were so proud of them, and they worked together. And the snowman was brilliant.

At some point I felt guilty and helped them decorate, even bringing them hats and scarves and getting snow all over my long johns and in my shoe (no socks!), but it was worth the pain and suffering to see the fruits of their labors.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

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